Yeast-Free Cashew Parmesan (5 Minutes!)

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Spoonful and jar of Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese made without nutritional yeast

While experimenting with taking yeast out of my diet recently, I found I was without my classic, beloved Vegan Parmesan Cheese.

I like putting cashew parmesan on my favorite meals, like Eggplant Parmesan, roasted vegetables, and pizza. So life just wasn’t the same without it. And I know many of you have been in a similar boat trying to avoid nutritional yeast. So I got to work developing a yeast-free version of the classic recipe.

Tile with ingredients for making yeast-free Vegan Cashew Parmesan cheese

The trick to making major swaps like this is replacing the ingredient with something that tastes similar or reminds your brain of the flavors of the ingredient you’re omitting.

In this case, it’s all about the salt — and adding in some classic Italian herbs and seasonings like garlic, dried basil and oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flake.

Bonus? This recipe requires just 6 ingredients you likely have on hand right now, 5 minutes, and a blender or food processor to make. Shall we?!

Blender filled with cashews and other ingredients for making yeast-free Vegan Parmesan Cheese

This recipe is simply a blend of sea salt, raw cashews (if you’re sensitive to cashews, try a blend of the nuts I recommend in this Cashew-Free version), garlic powder, dried herbs, and a little red pepper flake.

Besides flavor, the other trick to getting it close to “real parmesan” is the texture! I found blending this into a super fine, powdery meal in a small blender was key.

Real parmesan cheese is easily shaken over dishes and almost melts into them, partly because of how light and fluffy it is. This is why I recommend using a small blender as opposed to a food processor, because it’s able to get the texture even more fine.

I took one bite of this “cheese” and was blown away by how close it is to the real thing!

Spoonful of yeast-free Vegan Cashew Parmesan on a blue and white tile

I hope you LOVE this “cheese!” It’s:

Cheesy
Salty
Flavorful
Quick & easy to make
SUPER close to the real thing
& SO delicious

This would make the perfect topper for things like Veggie Pizza, Vegan Meatballs, and Pesto Breadsticks, or for adding to things like Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Pesto!

Into dairy-free cheese? Be sure to check out our Original Cashew Parmesan Cheese, Spicy Pimento Vegan Cheese Ball, Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese, Probiotic-Cultured Vegan Cheese, 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso, and Easy Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese!”

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Jar of yeast-free, dairy-free, homemade Parmesan cheese beside ingredients used to make it

Yeast-Free Cashew Parmesan

Crumbly, salty, vegan parmesan cheese made without yeast! Just 5 minutes, 6 ingredients, and a blender required. Incredibly simple and quick to make, and perfect for topping Italian dishes and beyond! 
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Jar of yeast-free Vegan Parmesan Cheese beside cashews and spices to make it
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 16 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Cheese Alternative
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (we haven’t tested other nuts, but Brazil nuts and hemp seeds might work)
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (you can use fresh herbs, but the “cheese” won’t last as long)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (you can use fresh herbs, but the “cheese” won’t last as long)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flake (omit for less spice, but it does round out the flavor)

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a small blender for fine texture, or use a food processor. Mix/pulse until a fine, powdery meal is achieved.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding garlic for depth of flavor, red pepper flake for heat, basil or oregano for richer herb flavor, and salt to taste (you want this pretty salty to mock the “parmesan cheese” flavor).
  • Transfer to container and store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for 3-4 weeks refrigerated, or in the freezer for 1 month, sometimes longer. Great for use on top of vegan pizza, breadsticks, pastas, and gratins. It’s also a great addition to vegan meatballs!

Video

Notes

*Recipe adapted from my original vegan parmesan cheese recipe.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 one-tablespoon servings Calories: 46 Carbohydrates: 2.6 g Protein: 1.5 g Fat: 3.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Sodium: 220 mg Potassium: 57 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 0.5 g

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Reader Interactions

  1. kim says

    I’m in the camp of “what’s the deal w/ nutritional yeast!?!” It’s not actually alive anymore and the B12 is so good for us.

    but just for fun tried this cashew parmesan, and dare I say?, you’ve outdone your nutritional yeast recipe! oh my gosh! phenomenal. You guys/gals are aMAzing!!

  2. Marieke says

    Great recipe! Had no nutritional yeast at home, so I just made a parmesan inspired by it and what I had in my cupboard: fresh basil, garlic powder, chili powder, unsalted almonds & salt. It’s not exactly recipe, but it’s really yummy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Kaveri says

    Hey I just tried this recipe and oh my lord this is a blessing! I recently was discovered to be lactose intolerant Abd being a teen It was hard for me to eat pasta without my cheese! Thanks a ton for this recipe! Love from India!!

  4. RJ says

    Thank you so much for making this recipe! I’m yeast intolerant with mildly allergic to dairy. I made this recipe to go with pesto and it’s wonderful! It’s very close to dairy Parmesan cheese in taste and is great on its own and in cooking. I’ll be using it to replace Parmesan on top of Bolognese, pesto pasta and carbonara in the future! I can’t wait to try making yeast free garlic bread and Parmesan scones!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe and we love all your ideas for ways to use it! Thank you for the lovely review, RJ! xo